>> welcome to." -- welcome to the "journal." germany announces plans to withdraw troops from afghanistan after a decade in the country. a french court finds former president jacques chirac guilty on corruption charges. residents in a chinese village accuse local officials of stealing their land and beating their spokesman to death.
germany has announced it will begin pulling its forces out of afghanistan at the end of this month. all western troops are set to leave the country by the end of 2014. bundeswehr begin to wrap up a deployment that has been extremely unpopular since it began. >> after 10 years in afghanistan, the bundeswehr is set to begin withdrawing. some 450 german soldiers will begin to leave, but the situation remains difficult, as the german foreign minister admits. >> the human rights situation in afghanistan is improving, but only slowly. basic human rights are enshrined in the afghan constitution, but they are far from being realized in practice. >> the main opposition parties have already said they will support the government's plan,
but lawmakers say afghan president karzai have to do more -- has to do more to fight corruption and the drug trade. >> how long before he finally realizes that without these efforts, governing afghanistan without the help of foreign combat troops will be impossible? >> across political divisions, there were calls for the withdrawal plan to be altered, should the security situation demand it. >> our priority should be to have a responsible handover, rather than meeting ambitious timetable, and that depends on how things go as the afghans gradually take responsibility for security. >> the left party is calling for an immediate withdrawal of all troops. it has rejected german involvement in afghanistan from the outset. heileman is expected to back the government's withdrawal plan in a vote next month -- parliament is expected to back the withdrawal plan.
>> the u.s. has formally declared an end to its nine-year in iraq. soldiers loaded the american flag in baghdad today for the very last time. u.s. defence secretary leon panetta acknowledged that, "and a lot of blood had been spilled since the toppling of saddam hussein," but he said american troops have place iraq on a path to peace and democracy. the conviction of former french president jacques chirac on corruption charges has been sending shock waves throughout france. he was handed a suspended sentence for charges related to his time as mayor of paris, making him the first french head of state to be convicted on charges in about 70 years. >> the former french president has been dogged by this case for well over a decade. for a time, it looked as though all charges would be dropped after he paid compensation. even state prosecutors had urged a not guilty verdict, but
today, jacques chirac finds himself a convicted criminal. >> for us, it is a historic judgment, the first time a former president has been sentenced by the french courts. a wonderful event that demonstrates that no one is above the law. >> the convictions relate to his time as mayor of paris. the court found that in the 1990's, he put 28 members of his political party on the municipal payroll for jobs that did not exist. he was found guilty of embezzlement, breach of trust, and conflict of interest. chirac's lawyer said that would not diminish his achievements. and it is my hope that this ruling does not change the deep affection the french legitimately feel for jacques chirac, nor make them forget the actions he took for 12 years. >> chirac was not present at the trial. lawyers say the 70-year-old suffers from memory loss, but they say he is considering an appeal.
>> germany's president has broken his silence over allegations that he misled lawmakers over a 500,000 your private loan. he borrowed the money from the wife of a friend before he became president. critics say he should have mentioned the loan when asked about business dealings last year. in a statement today, he admitted that he should have raised the matter, but he added that he had nothing to hide. palestinian officials say they suspect right-wing jewish extremists are to blame for an arson attack on a west bank mosque, the second such incident this week. the mosque was set on fire and defaced with graffiti, including the hebrew words for war. sellers often attacked palestinian homes and all of gross, but along with the mosque attack, assaults on israeli military attacks as well mark an escalation. the attacks are conducted for actions settler is viewed as sympathetic towards palestinians. in a surprise development, russia has submitted a draft
resolution to the united nations security council, seeking to end the violence in syria. the contents have not been disclosed, but france's envoy has called the proposal "an extraordinary event." syrian opposition activists are reporting that army deserters have killed 27 members of the government security forces. this week, the united nations said some 5000 people have been killed in serious since the crackdown on protesters began earlier this year. it is an annual event for russia's prime minister, a phone-in show on national tv, but this is no ordinary year. putin has been the target of the biggest demonstrations in decades after the elections that the opposition says were rigged. putin immediately went on the
offensive. while the knowledge the right to protest, he also knowledge russia would not stand by it four nations tried to influence its domestic affairs. >> vladimir putin was in top form. in a televised debate, the russian prime minister shrugged off accusations that his party cheated its way to victory. he said he was pleased that so many people turned out to protest. >> i saw on television mostly young, active people clearly expressing their opinions. i'm pleased to see this. if this is as a result of the putin regime, then it is good. >> tens of thousands rallied across the country to protest the outcome of the elections. they accused putin's united russian party of widespread election fraud. putin did not bowed to demands for a rerun of the vote, but he did propose installing cameras at polling stations in the next election. >> the camera should be on 24
hours a day so that everyone can see what is happening inside the polling stations. and the putin faced some tough questions from the audience. this man wants to know how the government plans to reform the police force. another asked why the government does not fire incompetent ministers. you could try to reassure the nation if anyone can solve russia's problems, it is him. >> vladimir putin is demonstrating that he is still on top of things and takes the concerns of his people seriously, but that will not be enough to satisfy many disappointed voters. as soon as this weekend, they want to take to the streets again. >> as russia moves to polish its democratic credentials, it is also deepening its ties with europe. moscow says it is ready to help shore up the eurozone, saying the survival of the euro is in moscow's best interests. at a two-day eu russian summit
in brussels, the medvedev said the kremlin would contribute billions to a fund to aid troubled eurozone economies. >> eu leaders were visibly pleased with what the russian leader had to say. president of the dieppe pledged financial aid to help the eurozone out of its crisis and also called on other countries to lend assistance. >> only europe can help europe. but other countries should help provide conditions for europe to liberate itself from the crisis as soon as possible. and recover from this downturn as quickly as possible. >> despite the pledge, eu leaders did not shy away from addressing russia's disputed parliamentary elections. the eu council president praised moscow -- >> we are concerned by
the intention of protesters. >> president medvedev appointed to the progress made. for example, on visa-free travel for russian citizens and the removal of trade barriers. analysts say strengthening ties is a political priority. >> we can achieve a lot by investing in russia and transferring technology because that can also help to stabilize political developments there. the mall while russia and the eu are moving closer on economic issues, the two sides still have a lot of talking to do to overcome political differences. >> over to steve now, and there is no let up on the pressure on european banks. >> no, they are at it again. ratings agency standard and poor's has lowered the credit ratings of 10 spanish banks and warned that they all remain on watch for further cut subject to a review of spain's sovereign debt rating.
somewhat ironically, however, the move came hours after important signs of progress in the eurozone debt crisis emerged from madrid. investors gave spain a strong vote of confidence thursday by oversubscribing for a debt auction. spain raised over 6 billion euros in the bond auction. >> the bond auction went much better than expected. spain needs money badly, and it now has a fresh supply. demand for the spanish bonds was high, so interest rates remained relatively low. by the end of november, the rate had jumped to nearly 7% as concerns mounted that spain would be unable to repay its debts. suddenly, rates have dropped again to 5.5%. many are pending the successful bond sale to hopes that spain's prime minister elect will be
able to come through on tough austerity measures. he will be sworn in next week. >> attention is shifting to rome when the italian government's new austerity package will be put to parliament on friday. the move is designed to speed up the passage of the bill into law. the passage, which foresees cutting italy's deficit by 33 billion euros, was designed by the country's new technocrat prime minister and is intended to balance the budget by 2013. the plan includes deep cuts in public spending as well as on popular pension reforms, but also includes measures to boost economic growth. on to the markets, and european share markets did rise thursday, closing with gains for the first time this week. for more on the day's trading action in frankfurt, we have this summary from our correspondent. >> not everything is negative in this debt crisis. on thursday, new economic data
sent out some dilemmas of hope. the purchase rose surprisingly, and if you look at this index in germany, it shows that there is no need to fear recession for the german economy. in the end, this news has been enough to raise share prices. because of the fact that the bank has been able to raise some fresh capital. >> was set in frankfurt for a closer look at thursday's numbers and germany's dax. it finished the day up by nearly a full percentage point. your stocks 50 also finishing higher. across the atlantic in new york, the dow is up by .5%. the euro also higher, back above $1.30.
general motors opel subsidiary in germany is still recovering from the credit crisis of 2008, it is pegging its future on a new generation of electric cars. problem, however, is that its flagship hybrid engine model is having some trouble at the starting line. >> it is the first model in a new generation of more environmentally friendly vehicles for opel, but sales have been put on hold now that a similar hybrid vehicle for another company failed a safety test in the united states. it is bad news. sales have dropped off dramatically at general motors' german subsidiary, and the hope was that this year could mark a turnaround. in 2008, opel sold nearly 1.5 million vehicles. sales fell the following two years in spite of germany's cash
for clunkers program. about 260,000 cars were sold in first half of this year, falling sharply short of forecast that would double that amount. next year, the company is also expected to miss sales targets. if the company sells only 1000 fewer vehicles this year than originally forecast, it will come up short by 1 billion euros. restoring profitability is moving further off into the horizon. >> a business-related story here. the view that china might be headed for a hard economic landing has been getting more support data recently. one of the latest being the violent protests in the chinese fishing town. while the economy was booming at 12% annual growth rates, there was less concerned about income corruption, the abuse of power, and even land grabs. protests turned to clashes after a popular leader died in police custody.
>> down with the corrupt authorities, read the banners. these people say officials are stealing their land and selling it to developers. for months, there have been repeated protests. the death of the spokesman in police custody has brought the situation to a head. police say he had a heart attack. villagers are skeptical. >> if they say he was not beaten to death, they should show us the body, let the media, villagers, and government officials and examine it and determine the cause of death, and if there are not in the traces of injuries, why will they not hand over the body? >> the town is now surrounded by police. the government in beijing has threatened punishment if the protests continue, but villagers have already won a small victory. district authorities say several officials have been detained on corruption charges relating to the disputed land seizures. >> until about a week ago, the idea that britain might leave
>> welcome back. the eurozone crisis has shaken the architecture of the european union to its very core, raising the very real possibility that some nations may leave the currency and the longtime member britain might even lead the eu entirely. deeper fiscal integration brought britain's commitment to the eu to the fore when london last week rejected treaty changes designed to centralize economic policy. that move was branded as destructive by top-ranking eu leaders with the commission presidency in british policy threatened to break up the eurozone. but the decision by prime
minister david cameron has proven extremely popular with a majority of british voters long skeptical of those doings across the channel. >> it is early morning in london, but the city is already coming to life. thousands of people are headed to the same spot, the financial district. the square mile, as it is known, generates a significant contribution to the country's gross domestic products. james center works right in the middle of it all. he is one of the most sought after ms. taylor's in the city. >> we have a very good barometer because we get people from all walks of life because of our shops in the financial sector. >> he named his shop the cat and a dandy, with a nod to the bankers and its image. he was one of them until the financial crisis hit in 2008. he believes prime minister david
cameron was right to say no to brussels. and he is not alone. >> britain is so reliant on its financial sector that we have to protect this for ourselves. more than anything else. it is very difficult to be the one man that stands up against everyone else and says, "this is not for us." that is, i think, a difficult thing to do, but i do think it is the right thing to do, to try to protect british interests. >> critics say camera was only protecting the interests of the few, those who work in the financial district. they want to avoid the financial transaction tax that the rest of the eu signed off on in brussels. now, the u.k. finds itself isolated. >> the choice was a treaty without proper safeguards or no treaty, and the right answer was no treaty. it was not an easy thing to do, but it was the right thing to do.
>> cameron's decision has given new life not only to the euro skeptics in the british parliament, but also to analysts like robert olds from the bruges think tank in brussels. he has been calling for less europe for over 20 years. he believes europe should do away with the current structure. >> it forces a massive change. >> also believes the common currency union is fundamentally flawed. >> managing their affairs would be a lot better than the brussels institutions or the european central bank in frankfurt really dictating policy to other countries. the way forward is to have each country be its own currency, admit that the single currency has failed. >> some fear a europe without the euro could see the block mired in petty national
disputes. in london's financial district, opinions, even among bankers and traders, are mixed. am i too would be very unfortunate if the goodwill that has built up with europe over the last many decades is eroded. i do not think that will happen. we have to find a way to get back at the table. >> a transaction taxes primarily going to hit london. it will not hit germany or france. i know that the french are against the whole anglo-saxon banking model, but that is because i do not really understand banking. it is a manufacturing powerhouse. you do not have a financial services sector and perhaps do not have the savings that lots of nice people in this area do have. i is -- it is disproportionate on the uk, so it is a deal that helps up primarily the eurozone theory why should the u.k. they for it? >> business is smoke -- boeing and his business is confident your three years ago, the city was gripped by the global financial crisis and bankers and
traders did not my -- find much support among their fellow londoners. >> we are now at a time when you do not need to be nervous about seeing your banker. i used to hate it. you go to a nightclub or bar or meet someone at a dinner party, it was prettily -- pretty horrible to tell people you were a banker. that he says those times are gone, but the renewed confidence in the sector has given it new power in politics, and that has proven to be problematic. the government is backpedaling, saying that britain will not leave the eu. the jamaica white house around the corner is a popular place for bankers and traders to get a drink after work and talk shop. >> the anti-eu sentiment has properly maintained its strength.
the mall while it is still unclear what britain's new path will be from the viewpoint of the city bankers, it is looking good. >> we spoke to a man who spends a lot of time trying to bridge the divide between britain and continental europe. he is on the board of the deutsche with most of the u.k. supporting kevin pose of physicians, we asked about his experience as a member of the german british society and what he is hearing from his british colleagues. >> i, of course, as my colleagues, all passionate, committed europeans -- of course, we do not like what david cameron has been doing. i have a feeling that the short- term interests of the city is one thing, but the long-term interests of the united kingdom is something very different. the united kingdom is a european
country and should remain one. i really do not think that the u.k. should become one of those very few european countries that are outside the european project. the others are countries like san marino and liechtenstein and switzerland. i really doubt whether it is in the uk's best interest to be in that league. >> david cameron's move did seem to be a step in that direction. what is the german government was a response? is angela merkel frustrated? dishy angry? family have to ask her. i do have a feeling that the german government and, i think, the german public are -- well, yes, a bit angry that the uk again has decided to play a sort of solitary role within europe. it has done this on several occasions since -- whenever it was -- 1973 when the u.k. joined the european union, and it has
done it again now. we feel that as much as we need the u.k. in the union, the u.k. needs the rest of europe, and we should find a way of doing it together. >> as we just saw in that report, public sentiment is very much in favor of david cameron. i think the conservative party polls ratings have even gone up. >> but that is a short-term reality. you can influence public opinion. you can influence what people sort of say when they are asked on tv in the street, but if they think about it, if our british colleagues think about it, they must realize that it is in the best interests to be an integral part of europe. they have an awful lot of things they can bring to the table, non-material assets, and we have a lot of things that we can bring to the table, all the rest of us. i think it is in our best, interests to try to pursue that